The morass of litigation engulfing the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule will be the top environmental law issue to watch next year, according to new rankings from Vermont Law School. U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan — a contentious rule requiring power plants to curb their greenhouse gas emissions — is at the center of a massive court battle that is widely expected to drag on for years and ultimately wind up at the Supreme Court. The legal “Super Bowl” surrounding the regulation ranked No. 1 on the law school’s annual top 10 list.
Pennsylvania’s blueprint for reducing its economywide greenhouse gas emissions will likely include a substantial focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, as evidenced by a draft of the state’s upcoming Climate Change Action Plan. The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 requires the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to submit a climate change “Action Plan” to the governor every three years. The 2015 draft was shared with the state Climate Change Advisory Committee at a meeting held last month.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sought to establish himself as a leading opponent of climate action among Republican presidential hopefuls yesterday as he continued to target conservative voters less than two months before the Iowa caucuses. Cruz, who last month said that Democrats were lying about climate change to advance their policies, lampooned climate scientists, environmentalists and the Obama administration yesterday in a hearing meant to raise doubts about people’s responsibility for climbing temperatures.
The House appears headed for a Friday vote on the short-term continuing spending resolution to keep the federal government open while lawmakers continue to negotiate a long-term deal. Senate and House leaders have yet to say how long the CR will be for. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today that she expected it to be “very short.” Ongoing talks are focusing on whether the spending bill will also include a measure to extend a slew of tax provisions. Policy riders also continue to jam the process. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said “several dozen” riders, including a provision targeting U.S. EPA’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule, were still part of the negotiations.
oth chambers of Congress are expected to pass a continuing resolution tomorrow to ward off a government shutdown as negotiations over an omnibus spending measure and tax extenders package continue. The House Rules Committee will meet this afternoon to set the terms of debate for the five-day CR, which extends the current stopgap funding measure through Dec. 16. The House will not be in session this weekend.
Stopping U.S. EPA’s climate change rules for power plants could hurt utilities investing to crack down on their greenhouse gas emissions, a coalition of energy companies told a federal court yesterday. A broad coalition of utilities, states and others have asked the court to issue a stay halting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan while litigation plays out. But several power companies including NextEra Energy Inc., Calpine Corp., Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Edison Co. today urged judges to keep the rule in place.
Experts in urban planning and related fields acknowledge that there are many ways to measure energy efficiency — or energy intensity, an idea that encompasses the quantity and quality of energy consumed — and that any assessment must include a degree of subjectivity. Some surveys adjust the measurement of a city’s energy intensity to include not just how much its residents consume but also how much others consume on their behalf.
Mr. Gates told Mr. Hollande that energy innovation needed to be a top agenda item at the climate change conference now taking place in this airport suburb outside Paris. For years, Mr. Gates had prodded governments to increase spending on research and development of clean technologies. He had sunk $1 billion of his own fortune into start-ups working on new kinds of batteries and nuclear reactors. “Honestly, I’ve been a bit surprised that the climate talks historically haven’t had R.&D. on the agenda in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Gates, 60, said in an interview last week on the sidelines of the summit meeting, which ends on Friday.
According to a summary of the House extenders bill, the PTC would be extended through the end of 2016. However, the bill is silent on the extension of the investment tax credit for solar that many Democrats have wanted. The omission of the ITC from the two-year bill comes despite a plea yesterday from Nat Kreamer, chairman of the board of the Solar Energy Industries Association, who flagged his experiences serving in the special forces in Afghanistan in a letter to House Ways and Means members.
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) yesterday told reporters the omnibus spending bill “is kind of in a frozen state for a bit” while negotiators continue work on a tax extenders package. “But we’re making very good progress on trying to resolve the money issues,” she told reporters. “We have about 40 or 42 poison pill riders, some are really big, Hobby Lobby, campaign finance reform, things that never really should have been on appropriations. So we’re kind of stuck at the riders.” In the meantime, a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government running past Friday appears likely.